Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Blue Cheese Sauce

by Andie Mitchell on January 13, 2013

buffalo turkey burgers blue cheese sauce-1

I’m going to cut right to it. These are fantastic. And it’s not every day that I’d say such a thing about a turkey burger. Because most often, when I choose to use turkey, I’m substituting it for beef. Either ground turkey has gone on sale at the market or Pinterest has persuaded me—whichever happens first—and it always ends the same: I wish I’d picked up beef.

But that just isn’t so with these. Because buffalo-anything is tastier when using poultry. The hot sauce and the blue cheese—they’re far better highlighted when grouped with a milder flavored meat like chicken or turkey. Beef would overwhelm; it’d overpower the fine balance we’re trying to create between fiery hot sauce and the creamy, cool blue cheese.

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To add moisture and bulk for a juicier, bigger burger, I added sautéed peppers and onions to the ground turkey before shaping the mixture into patties. I recommend cooking the peppers and onions rather than adding them raw because it brings out more of the rich, natural flavors in the veggies, but if you’re pressed for time or simply can’t bring yourself to dirty a skillet, you certainly don’t have to.

Another key ingredient is a bit of poultry seasoning. This blend of thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg is incredibly versatile in its usability when it comes to poultry (find it in the spice aisle of any grocery store; I use McCormick brand), and I especially love it in these burgers because it very gently enhances the flavor of the meat. It’s subtle enough that you can’t quite pinpoint each herb, but fragrant enough that the burgers are memorable. I really wanted to stay away from the bland turkey trap that most lean white meat burgers fall into, and I think focusing on enhancing the natural flavors of the bird rather than trying to mimic a beef burger is what allowed me to do that.

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Lastly and bestly, the blue cheese sauce. Heavens, yes.

Now, I won’t take credit for having made anything truly groundbreaking here, but I will say that I’ve solved the single most difficult problem that I and all fellow blue cheese lovers have faced for millennia, which is—how to keep blue cheese crumbles from falling off of one’s burger. Nightmare.

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The solution as of 12:24pm on Sunday, January 13, 2013: Mix equal parts blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing, stir into a thick sauce, and spread atop your burger.

I know.

The ultimate dilemma: blue cheese dressing or blue cheese crumbles? Solved. And condiments? Done.

buffalo turkey burgers blue cheese sauce-3

All that remains to be fixed now is the situation with the blue cheese dribble on my shirt and in my lap, but I’ve got a wide-open afternoon before the Golden Globes to solve that.

Let’s eat.

 

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

makes 4 burgers

For the burgers:

1 pound 93% lean ground turkey breast

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 scallions, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

 

For the blue cheese sauce:

½ cup blue cheese crumbles

½ cup blue cheese dressing (recommended: Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Chunky Blue Cheese)

extra hot sauce for serving (optional)

 

Make the burgers: In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and bell pepper for two minutes, until just beginning to soften. Add garlic, turn off the heat, and stir for 30 seconds. Remove to a small bowl and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add the cooled onion/pepper mixture and use your hands to mix well.

Form 4 evenly sized patties.

Preheat your oven’s broiler. Place the patties on a lightly greased baking pan and broil for 4-5 minutes per side, until the burgers are no longer pink in their centers.

Make the blue cheese sauce: Stir blue cheese crumbles and dressing in a small bowl. Spread evenly over the top of each burger patty. Drizzle with additional hot sauce if desired.

Nutrition Information for 1 Turkey Patty, Plain (without blue cheese sauce): Calories 182, Fat 9.2 g, Total Carbohydrate 2.9 g, Dietary Fiber 0.6 g, Sugars 0.6 g, Protein 22.4 g

Nutrition Information for 1 Turkey Patty with 1/4th of the Blue Cheese Sauce: Calories 319, Total Fat 20.9 g, Total Carbohydrate 6.4 g, Dietary Fiber 0.7 g, Sugars 1.9 g, Protein 26.4 g

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica January 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

LOVE buffalo turkey burgers. And I know I’m weird but I don’t like blue cheese! But I like you so it all works out in the end.

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Cadi January 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm

These are a perfect addition to a football party repertoire – made slider sized and served on little bitty buns. Thanks for the yummy recipe Andie, enjoy your Sunday!

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Rebecca @ Pavlova's Dog January 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Biting through a burger and seeing that confetti of onion, red peppers and scallions – beautiful.

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Cinnamon Vogue January 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Oh Yes! I love Blue cheese. In fact once a month, I go to Trader Joe’s and get their salad with Blue Cheese. By the way I wonder what would happen if you put the blue cheese crumbles in the burger itself?

But I have got to say I have never ever bought poultry seasoning, but a Google search led me to discover that poultry seasoning has no chicken. It is vegetarian. My goodness I am such a neophyte.

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Rose January 13, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Andie I’m Australian. Why is the word “buffalo” used? There’s none in your recipe and when I googled “buffalo turkey” I got a whole lot of recipes. Is buffalo a style of food?

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admin January 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Hey Rose!

This is a good question, and one I never think long about since I’m American. I understand how it would seem strange.
“Buffalo” is a term we get from the traditional buffalo wings—chicken wings that are fried, coated in hot sauce, and served with blue cheese dressing—which originally come from Buffalo, New York. The combination of hot sauce and creamy blue cheese became so popular that nowadays, we apply the famous “buffalo” style to lots of different things. Hope this helps!

Thanks for reading :)
Andie

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Jill January 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

Authentic Buffalo girl here & i will be making these tonight for dinner. Homemade bleu cheese dressing is a must!

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admin January 14, 2013 at 7:40 am

Ooooo Jill will you share a recipe with me?! I would love to make my own but I’ve never tried.

Andie

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Jill January 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Bleu Cheese Dip/Dressing
1/16 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 cup oil
1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1-2 oz bleu cheese crumbles

Mix all ingredients together. Add water to thin out for a salad dressing. Makes a little more than 1/2 cup. Can easily be lightened up too!

I just made some and now I’m starting on the burgers!!

Olivia January 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Definitely just pinned this. I’m always on the look out for new turkey burger recipes! :)

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Donna baumgartner January 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm

My husband said “buffalo mixed with turkey?”
Men :)
Sounds MARVELOUS!!!

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Bek @ Crave January 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Yum! I actually really enjoy ground turkey, but not so much blue cheese :P

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Brooke January 14, 2013 at 12:29 am

Mmmm… Frank’s Red Hot is ***the*** best hot sauce. Excellent choice! Try it on a banana sometime (seriously, it’s very good).

Frank’s Red Hot — “I put that s*** on everything!” (their motto, not mine) :D

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Jess January 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

These look amazing.It’s 9.30 in England, and I would happily eat this right now! I was a convert to turkey mince when I made meatballs with it. I can’t wait to try these! My partner will be ecstatic he gets burgers more than once a week now!

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Bridget January 14, 2013 at 4:46 am

Thanks for the dinner idea tonight! These look GREAT!

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Heather @ SugarDish(Me) January 14, 2013 at 4:47 am

I am sooooo making these!! Funny because this is the 2nd turkey burger recipe I’ve read this morning and it’s only 7:44 am, but I swoon over buffalo anything. Sometimes we make something similar with ground chicken & Texas Pete. Anyway… I need to write you a whole entire SEPARATE thank you note for the blue cheese sauce. Hero status.

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Kim | At Home With Kim January 14, 2013 at 6:32 am

I have been on a Buffalo sauce kick lately (once I found out how low in WW points it is). Cannot wait to make these burgers!!!

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Tamara January 14, 2013 at 6:40 am

Okay, these look seriously AMAZING!!

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Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) January 14, 2013 at 7:05 am

This looks so delicious – I love buffalo anything =)

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Renee H. January 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

Are you using a low cal english muffin in place of a typical hamburger bun?

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admin January 14, 2013 at 10:29 am

Hey Renee,

No, these are the regular Thomas’ English muffins. I didn’t have any buns in the house, otherwise I would have preferred to use one. Also, I should make it clear that I don’t factor any bun or anything into the nutrition info (because the stats vary so much based upon whatever people decide to use).

Andie

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tracy {pale yellow} January 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Buffalo sauce makes poultry so much more flavorful. This burger looks wonderful, I can’t wait to try.

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Ally January 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I make a very similar turkey meat loaf, but instead of the poultry seasoning I use fennel. Also if you quickly pan sear each piece of meat loaf before serving you won’t regret it!!!

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admin January 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

SUCH a delicious idea, Ally! Thanks!

Andie

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Rizza January 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Thank you for another great recipe! I made these last night and they were awesome. (I have a serious chicken wing addiction, and these will help keep me much healthier.)

I also made my own low cal blue cheese sauce – cheaper and lower calorie too (adapted from Food Network web page).

1/2 C fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 C light mayo
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T 1% milk
a few dashes Worsteschire sauce
pinch Cayanne
salt
pepper
1/2 C blue cheese crumbles folded in

Delicious!

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Katie January 15, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Made these last night, they were delicious!

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admin January 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm

So fantastic to hear! Thanks Katie!

Andie

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Adrianna January 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Great healthy, homemade fast food alternative! Thank you.

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Leigh Ann January 19, 2013 at 6:28 am

Thanks for this one, Andi! I had no idea I could pack so much flavor into a turkey burger!

P.S. I’m pretty sure the George Foreman squished most of the hot sauce out (I ended up brushing more on each side). Will be sticking with the broiling technique next time!

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admin January 19, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thanks so much for reporting back, Leigh Ann! I am always hesitant about the amount of hot sauce that I call for in a recipe because I don’t want them to be too hot, but I, personally, add a ton :)

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Krista January 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Looks delicious! Can’t wait to make these!

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Angela January 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Ok, so stupid question…..for some reason the thought of eating chicken/turkey burgers grossed me out for the longest time. I have no idea why, it just did. I finally tried a chicken burger recipe and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. So here is my question, would chicken be just as good for this recipe or was there a specific reason you chose turkey over chicken? Like I said, I don’t have a lot of experience cooking either, so I’m just curious. Thanks!

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admin January 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Hey Angela,

Not a stupid question at all! In general, any of the recipes that call for ground turkey can easily be swapped for ground chicken with no discernible difference, and vice versa. As long as both are ground breast meat, they’ll both be lean and fairly mild/bland in taste. It’s mostly a matter of price and personal preference. I usually find turkey in the markets I go to more often than I find chicken, so it’s a natural choice for me. In this recipe and all of my ground turkey/chicken recipes going forward, always feel free to use either one with no ill effect.

Hope this helps!

Andie

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Allyson January 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Love the blog! Just found it and it is exactly what I was looking for. My hubby and I are such foodies and so often eating healther = less flavor.

About your blue cheese sauce: if you warm up the blue cheese crumbles (I use a 2 inch castiron pot on the oven because we no longer own a microwave…don’t ask…but I think you could use the microwave) anyway once they are softened they are very thick and melty and stay on a burger perfectly!

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admin January 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I LOVE this tip!! Thank you Allyson, from one blue cheese lover to another :)

Andie

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Lynn February 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm

So these are about to go under the broiler, and even raw, they look divine. I have to ask about the english muffin, however. Was that a “we have no buns and I need this burger NOW” thing, or do you have a love of english muffins as buns? I’m such a fan that I bought english muffins before asking (the healthy ones), but as I slice DH’s gorgeous, fresh french hamburger buns and lay them in the toaster oven next to my English muffin, I see the 1 point difference (doing wwp+) and think, “le sigh”. ?

(I’m in love with your blog, btw. You make healthy food sound sensual and comforting, such a great writing style!)

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Lynn February 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm

PS – I just found a recipe I’m in love with and want to share it, as I’m a foodie, too, and so many of my fellow followers are foodies, too… and it’s kid friendly, easy, and fast! Not linking it here since I didn’t make it up and don’t want people to think I’m attaching some sort of virus. Simply go to SparkPeople.com (it will ask you to register, but you don’t have to just to look up a recipe) and look up “Broiled Tilapia Parmesan” – omg, trust me, it’s divine. I didn’t change one thing, followed the recipe exactly, and I never do that – and it was PERFECTION. Even my 4.5 year old liked it! Okay, sorry for the hijack, just had to share! :)

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Lynn February 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Wow – packed with flavor! These were delicious. My husband threatened to eat the leftovers for breakfast, which is a pretty good indication. I think the hot sauce added more flavor than heat, which IMO was perfect. (And yes, I enjoyed mine on the English muffin. I liked that the bread held things together but was basically a background note.) There was enough flavor here to hold up against a red wine, I’m happy to say!

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admin February 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Lynn,

I have so enjoyed reading your comments :) Thank you!! I’m really happy to hear how much you and your husband liked them! It’s the kind of thing that just fulfills a lonely, flour-covered/oil-splattered recipe writer.

I can’t wait to check out that tilapia recipe; it sounds fantastic. I’ll report back if I try it.

As far as the English muffin goes: No, I do not prefer it to a fluffy sandwich bun. It was truly all we had on hand, and I was admittedly sad about it at first. But I, like you, thought it did a fine job in the end. I always have English muffins in my freezer for breakfasts/brunches on the weekend, so it’s easy to just pull one out.

Again, I’m so grateful that you tried the recipe, and even more grateful that you took the time to write in with a review. Thank you!

Andie

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Jen February 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

I made these last night. Followed your recipe to the letter, and they were AWESOME! I have never had a feel for cooking and suck at it, but my New Year’s Rez was to cook more and these were so easy and delicious and a hit with kiddo. (And I used my broiler for the first time ever – that’s sad, I know) Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

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Jen February 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

Made these again with beef. Still AWESOME! And THANK YOU so much for introducing me to my broiler. I will never fry a burger on the stovetop again!

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Carrie @ Season It Already! February 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Made these for hubby, except had to use lean beef because he’s allergic to poultry. We both love the flavor, but they crumbled and fell apart. I wonder if I did something wrong or if it was just the fact that I used beef? I want to give them another try!

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Andie February 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thanks so much for trying them, Carrie! I think it might be the fact that ground chicken and turkey tend to be a bit wetter/more moist and therefore they can handle the mix-ins without needing a binder, like say, an egg. I wonder if the next time you make them with beef, if you added an egg, or two egg whites, that would help them to hold together.

I appreciate you giving them a shot and I’m grateful you wrote in!

Andie

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Carrie @ Season It Already! February 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

Perfect! Thanks for the tip. I will be making them again!

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darcy March 24, 2014 at 12:40 am

Coming back a year later, still using this recipe every month! Delicious! Too make it low carb I don’t use a a bun and throw some shredded lettuce on it, also I don’t like blue cheese and just mix half a ranch seasoning packet with a cup of fat free greek yogurt and and some goat cheese and poor it on top! Ahmazing! Have yet to find an Andie recipe that doesn’t work!

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